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Updates in Group National Global Imaginaries

2011/07/10

Ferreira Politics in trauma times: of subjectivity, war, and humanitarian intervention

reconciliation

Palace of the End is a dense triptych of monologues exploring alternative narratives –
albeit based in real facts – behind the events and the headlines surrounding
the war in Iraq. Borrowing its title from the former royal palace where Saddam
Hussein’s torture chamber was located, Thompson’s docudrama is structured as a
chain of monologues telling three real-life stories set in the context of the
war in Iraq. The play conveys three unconventional interpretations of the
realities of war: that of a young American soldier convicted for her misconduct
at Abu Ghraib, the prison that stands as one of the most controversial symbols
of the American-led Iraq invasion; a British scientist and weapons inspector
who denounces what he understands as the false arguments given by his country’s
leaders for engaging in a distant war; and an Iraqi mother whose life was
shattered firstly by Saddam Hussein’s authoritarian regime, and later by the
American first Gulf War. Each story is an enthralling and gut-wrenching
reflection of one of the contemporary world’s most studied and controversial
conflicts. The play gives voice to three different kinds of war victims,
insofar as their political subjectivities and their moral conundrums are
concerned.

Journal of Canadian Studies – The First Black Prairie Novel: Chief Buffalo Child Long L…

race,cultural_studies,indigenous

This essay situates Chief Buffalo Child’s Long Lance: The Autobiography of a
Blackfoot Indian Chief (1928) within the cultural context of its production,
the anti-Black racial climate of the Canadian Prairies in the early part of the
twentieth century, in order to analyze the textual repression of its author’s
Blackness. Although the Autobiography has been discredited as a fraud because,
as Donald B. Smith discovered, Long Lance was not in fact Blackfoot as the
Autobiography claims, but “mixed blood” from North Carolina, this
essay reclaims it as the first novel penned on the Prairies by a Black author,
for it tells a true—more metaphorical and allegorical than factual—story about
the desire on the part of displaced “new” world Blacks for Indigenous
status and belonging. This essay examines the implications of claiming the
Autobiography as the first Black prairie novel and explores how reading it as
fiction rather than autobiography extends our understandings of “passing,”
racial identification and transformation.

Telenovela writers under the military regime in Brazil: Beyond the cooption and resista…

new_media,autonomy,cultural_studies,military

This article aims to analyse the strategic choices made by left-wing telenovela
writers during the military regime in Brazil, their complex relationships with
their employer, Globo Network, and the regime’s various forms of censorship.
The arrival of many critical cultural producers in the television industry
during the authoritarian period in Brazil (1964—85) and the alleged close links
between Globo Network and the military regime stirred an intense debate among
the Brazilian intelligentsia. The participation of these cultural producers in
the small-screen arena during the authoritarian period has been almost
invariably considered by their detractors in terms of cooption/domination, or
as a form of resistance by their defenders. The recent opening of the Censor
Division Archives and the deluge of biographies, autobiographies and
testimonials of key television figures during the authoritarian regime, have
opened up new perspectives for examining Brazilian television history. Instead
of the seemingly almost perfect harmony between the military regime and the
television industry, as represented by Brazilian communication giant Globo
Network, the present analysis focuses on some of the tensions, subtle struggles
and spaces of relative autonomy within the telenovela field during the period
of authoritarian rule in Brazil.

The New Cartographies of Re-Orientalism

postcolonial,community

This paper explores the concept of Re-Orientalism by evaluating contrasting uses of
the term, examining their implications and revealing the way they mark ongoing
contestations over cultural legitimacy and authority. I explore some of the
connections between Re-Orientalism and Graham Huggan’s postcolonial exoticism
and propose an inclusive working definition of Re-Orientalism that I put to the
test in an evaluation of Michael Ondaatje’s Running in the Family and
Christopher Ondaatje’s The Man-Eater of Punanai. I suggest that
“Re-Orientalism” marks a re-orientation of discursive authorization symptomatic
of deep anxieties over cultural legitimacy. At its most radical, I argue, such
a re-orientation can prompt a profound revaluation of the position of the diasporic
and national subject in ways that provoke productive dialogue between them; at
its most reactionary, I suggest, it can work to deepen and entrench the
differences generated by Orientalist discourse itself.

Beyond connection: Cultural cosmopolitan and ubiquitous media

cosmopolis,new_media

In his media ethics, Roger Silverstone was particularly sceptical of the idea that
increasing mediaconnectedness in itself is set to improve our overall moral
condition or to foster a cosmopolitan cultural outlook. In arguing that we need
to go ‘beyond connection’, he raised the broader issue of the cultural
condition that an intensely connected environment is establishing, and posed
questions of the kinds of relatedness, the sense of belonging, the moral
horizons and awareness of responsibilities that such a condition entails. This
article takes an historical approach to these issues by considering how
mediated connectivity may have been regarded, particularly in relation to the
ideas of internationalism and cosmopolitanism, during the 1930s. Considering this
earlier period of modernity — in which media technologies and institutions were
emerging as significant shapers of cultural attitudes, but before they had
achieved the ubiquity and the taken-for-grantedness of today — can, it will
suggested, offer a useful perspective on our own globalized, media-saturated
times.

The War of Ideas and the Battle of Narratives: A Comparison of Extremist Storytelling S…

cultural_studies

In this essay, we examine the core narratives and rhetorical techniques that
extremist groups use to explain their worldview. We show that extremists in
North America as well as throughout the world, regardless of their political or
religious background, demonstrate great similarities in their construction and
deployment of narratives. We also identify key features of what we call “the
root war metaphor” that characterizes extremist narratives and apply a schema
for analyzing “narrative trajectories” to suggest a relationship between these
extremist narratives and acts of violence. What we can learn from shared
narrative elements among extremist groups may help answer questions about the
relationship of words to violence as well as speculate about how core narratives
may be used to construct more compelling stories to promote social justice.

Perpetual What? Injury, Sovereignty and a Cosmopolitan View of Immigration – Valdez -2…

citizenship,autonomy

Can Kantian cosmopolitanism contribute to normative approaches to immigration? Kant
developed the universal right to hospitality in the context of late
eighteenth-century colonialism. He claimed that non-European countries had a
sovereign right over their territory and the conditions of foreigners’ visits.
This sovereign prerogative that limited visitors’ right to hospitality. The
interconnected and complementary system of right he devised is influential
today, but this article argues that maintaining the complementarity of the
three realms involves reconsidering its application to contemporary
immigration. It situates Kant’s Perpetual Peace within the context of debates
about conquest and colonialism and argues that Kant’s strict conception of
sovereignty is justified by his concern in maintaining a realm of sovereignty
that is complementary with cosmopolitanism and his prioritization of mutual
agreements in each of the realms, particularly in a context of international
power asymmetry. In Kant’s time, European powers appropriated cosmopolitan
discourses to defend their right to visit other countries and it was necessary
to strengthen non-Europeans’ sovereign claims. The strength and hostility of
the visitors made limited hospitality and strong sovereignty act in tandem to
keep away conquerors, expanding cosmopolitanism. Today, individuals from poor
countries migrate to wealthier ones where they are subject to a sovereign
authority that excludes them. Sovereignty and cosmopolitanism no longer work
complementarily, but rather strengthen powerful state actors vis-à-vis
non-citizens subject to unilateral rule. Maintaining the pre-eminence of the
right to freedom, the article suggests that only through the creation of
‘cosmopolitan spaces’ of politics can we reproduce today the complementarity
that Kant envisioned.

Contemporary Literature – Testing Transnationalism

transnationalism,postcolonial

The critical fortunes of “the transnational” have swelled in recent
years, as it has made its way from disciplinary buzzword to become the banner
for a genuinely rigorous and self-reflexive kind of geopolitical criticism.
Along that path to widespread recognition and application, transnationalism has
confronted its own procedural hurdles as an interpretive and epistemological
framework, conceding potential frictions within its contentions—frictions
implicit in decisions about which identifications and experiences might
legitimately be celebrated or resisted. It’s a state of affairs neatly
summarized by Sallie Westwood and Annie Phizacklea, who point out that we have
“[o]n the one hand the continuing importance of the nation and the
emotional attachments invested in it, and on the other hand those processes
such as cross-border migration which are transnational in form.”

The Comparatist – Translating Interdisciplinarity: Reading Martí Reading Whitman

interdisciplinary,cultural_studies

Walt Whitman never saw most of the myriad places he name-checks in “Salut au
Monde,” in fact never traveled beyond North America. 3 That minor
technicality does not stop him from envisioning them—”seeing” them,
as it were—through the lens of his own mystical, abstracted vision of an
America at once generalized

Constructing the ‘criminal’ – deconstructing the ‘crime’ – The International Journal of…

rights,law

The aim of this paper is to examine and deconstruct the process of denying human
rights protection to one group (children) on the basis that if this was done,
another group (parents and teachers) could be construed as ‘criminal.’ In 2004
the Canadian Supreme Court ruled that children’s constitutional rights to
security, equality and to be free from cruel and unusual treatment were not
infringed when assaults made on them were made by a parent or caregiver. The
Supreme Court upheld s. 43 of the Criminal Code of Canada which provides
parents, teachers and those acting in their place with a defence that justifies
assaults on children. The Supreme Court majority acknowledged that s. 43
‘permits conduct toward children that would be criminal in the case of adult
victims’ but the distinction, on the basis of age, is designed to protect
children by not criminalizing their parents and teachers. Rather than denying
rights to some to save others from the fate of being construed a criminal is it
not incumbent upon us to uphold an inclusive understanding of human rights and
question the system that would so readily drop a vulnerable group from its’
protection over fear of labelling those with the upper hand as criminal?

 

“Gender” Trouble: Feminism in China under the Impact of Western Theory and the Spatiali…

gender,cultural_studies

Over the past ten to fifteen years, feminism in China has been marked by three
closely related characteristics. The first is the introduction of
“Western” feminism with “gender” as the core of theory
import. The second is the articulation of the “trouble” this import
of Western theory has caused. Chinese feminist texts abound with terms such as
trouble, difficulty, and clash, which are used to express worries about the
consequences of this new orientation of feminism in China. They prove that the
import of Western theory and the transition to “gender” as the basic
category of analysis are not the logical and unquestionable developments some
authors claim them to be. A third characteristic is the search for an identity
for Chinese feminism in a global context. Chinese scholars, under the impact of
Western theory, turn to spatial definitions of Chinese feminism vis-à-vis
international feminism and adopt the notion of the “local” to define
their place in the world. This essay highlights the “troubling” effects
the import of “gender” has on feminist theory building in China and
delineates the various and sometimes conflicting efforts Chinese feminists have
made to restabilize feminist theory and identity. These include different
translations and definitions of “gender,” diverging outlines of the
history of Chinese feminism in a global context, various definitions of the
“local,” differing visions of a regional “Asian” feminism,
and more complex models that try to integrate conflicting perspectives. These responses
demonstrate that contrary to its universalist claims, “gender” is a
specific concept that finds support among particular groups of feminists only.
This essay also tries to explain why Chinese feminists insist on the
“local” as a site of theory building and identity formation even
where they have acquired global horizons.

Studies in Latin American Popular Culture – How to Read Chico Bento: Brazilian Comics a…

cultural_studies,new_media

Mauricio de Sousa’s beloved comic books are a staple of many Brazilian childhoods.
Starting in the 1960s, his six-year-old characters began providing not only
entertainment, but also a distinctly Brazilian representative in a market
dominated by imports. Currently, these publications—several different comic
books and strips—represent 70 percent of the children’s market in Brazil, with
over one billion issues sold, not to mention a large Internet presence. The
characters’ expansive commercial empire includes an enormous indoor theme park,
videos, live theater, and over 3,500 consumer products (Mauricio de Sousa
Produções [MSP], “Mauricio de Sousa: Cartoonist”). Thus it is not
surprising that Mauricio is sometimes referred to as the Walt Disney of Latin
America. He was awarded the Yellow Kid (a major industry award), and recognized
by the Order of Rio Branco for his service to the country in 1971. The
thirtieth year anniversary publication, Mauricio: 30 Anos, includes a number of
interviews in which various well-known Brazilians stress the national nature of
the themes found in the comics, their identification with the characters, and
their pride regarding the success of the series (Editora Globo 16–18). In 2009,
in commemorating the fiftieth year of Mauricio’s career, the Ministry of
Culture declared his first character—Mônica—a cultural ambassador
(“Personagem Mônica”).

Mosaic – The Literary Text as Talking Cure: A Psychoanalytic Interpretation of Restless…

cultural_studies

This essay relies on the psychoanalytic literary theories of Peter Brooks and Julia
Kristeva to examine the transferential relationship between the
analysand-narrator and the analyst-narratee in the novel Restlessness. Van Herk
uses typical conventions of the psychoanalytic talking cure to unsettle the
common reader’s desire for linearity and final meaning.

Mosaic: Ecocriticism’s Theoretical Discontents

environment,cultural_studies

This essay both reflects upon ecocriticism’s investment in cultivating environmental
consciousness at a distance from critical reflexivity and explores its
theoretical discontents. Arguing for the necessity of bringing theory into
praxis, the essay suggests that ecocriticism needs to cross the threshold
between discursivity and materiality, experience and representation.

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